Delhi youth ask for right to not vote
As Delhi voted Sunday for it's trifurcated municipal corporation, a 19-year-old boy here reached the Delhi Election Commission to demand his right for not voting.
Akshay Malhotra, 19, who is from Karampura area of west Delhi, reached Delhi Election Commission Sunday morning to complain that he was not allowed to practice his right not to vote.
"I reached the local polling booth and asked them for the form 11A, but the booth level officers were not aware about it," he said.
Asked why he did not want to vote for any candidate, he said, "I did not find any of the candidates good enough to vote for. They are all corrupt and even last night, some candidates were distributing liquor here."
The youth added that he is a member of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement - India Against Corruption.
Malhotra is not the only one not interested in voting for any of the candidates. Several voters, mostly youth, across the city said they were choosing not to vote.
When 27-year-old Mayank Agarwal reached booth no.225 in Anand Vihar area, he wanted to practice his right not to vote under rule 49O.
"No one was aware what 49O is. The booth officer contacted the head polling officer, and then he contacted his senior... there was a lot of drama and the whole polling booth came to a stand still," recounted Agarwal.
"However, I was later allowed to practice my right not to vote," he said.
Voters can decide not to vote under two rule: First is 490, under which voters fill the form for not voting without taking part in any procedures at the booth. Another rule, 11A, applies when a voter decides not to vote after completing the initial procedures.
"If the voter decides not to vote after completing procedures like signing of putting thumb impression against his or her name, getting the ink mark, and going to the voting machine, then he has to do it under 11A," an Election Commission official said.
"I am choosing not to vote under 11A, because I find none of the candidates here fit to vote for," said Gaurav, 20, who is from Lakshminagar area of east Delhi.
Ashish Khanna, a 25-year-old from old Delhi's Chandni Chowk area, along with his friends, also chose to practice the right to not vote.
"They are corrupt, and so many have criminal cases as well. Why should we vote for such candidates. Councillors are killing workers from their own party, how do we expect them to work for us," lamented Khanna.
According to data released by Association for Democratic Research, 139 candidates or nine percent have declared criminal cases against them. Of these, 43 have declared serious criminal cases like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion. Of them, BJP has 39, Congress has 28, BSP has 19, and SP has 4 candidates with declared criminal cases.
Delhi Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta however said there were good candidates this time and that he did not expect many to practice right not to vote.
"There are lot of good candidates for this year election, so I don't think many will opt for right not to vote," Mehta said.
He also said practicing 11A wastes time of the polling officers.